BUFFALO — City officials say they’re standing by their 2010 decision to fire a former clerk after an audit report received Wednesday revealed thousands of dollars in mishandled public money.

Iowa Auditor David Vaudt reported that $9,395.88 of improper and unsupported disbursements were made between Sept. 25, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2010, the same period Kim Kauffman worked full time as a deputy clerk. Of that amount, about $1,800 was paid to

Kauffman, including $520 she improperly withheld from federal income taxes. She also was paid for vacations days she hadn’t yet earned, the report states.

These disbursements also include $1,344 of improper charges incurred on the city’s credit card and $1,316.66 of overpayments to city council members, the report states.

Another $4,295.05 spent on the city’s credit card did not have documentation to show where the money was spent, the report states.

“Oops,” Buffalo Mayor Doug Anderson said. “I don’t know really what to say.”

Asked if he thinks the audit shows Kauffman mishandled money, Anderson said, “That’s what it looks like.”

Kauffman could not be reached Wednesday for comment. She previously told the Quad-City Times that she has “nothing to be concerned about” and said she wanted an audit of city finances.

Anderson referred further inquiries to the city’s attorney, William McCullough.

“The issue is whether or not this was simply clerical errors or actions taken by Ms. Kauffman to defraud the city,” McCullough said.

According to Vaudt’s report, the city council voted to terminate Kauffman in September 2010 after a city employee discovered she had been recording a negative amount of federal income tax withholding when she calculated her own payroll check.

“The city stands by its decision to terminate her,” McCullough said. “The city felt at the time and still does that she should not be employed by the city. ... It’s at least a sign of incompetence and non-professional actions on her part.”

McCullough said the city will discuss the report with the Scott County Attorney’s Office. Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said Wednesday he hadn’t seen the case but will take a look at it if he receives it.

Copies of the report also were filed with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

The report includes recommendations to strengthen the city’s internal controls and overall operations, such as requiring paperwork to support disbursements and performing independent reviews of bank statements. Vaudt recommended all disbursements be approved by the city council.


BUFFALO, Iowa — City officials say they’re standing by their 2010 decision to fire a former clerk after an audit out Wednesday reveals thousands of dollars in mishandled public money.

Iowa Auditor David Vaudt reported that $9,395.88 of improper and unsupported disbursements were made between Sept. 25, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2010, the same period Kim Kauffman worked full time as a deputy clerk. Of that amount, about $1,800 was paid to Kauffman, including $520 she improperly withheld from federal income taxes, the report states.

These disbursements also include $1,344 of improper charges incurred on the city’s credit card and $1,316.66 of overpayments to City Council members, the report states.

“Oops,” Buffalo Mayor Doug Anderson said. “I don’t know really what to say.”

Asked if he thinks the audit shows Kauffman mishandled money, Anderson said, “That’s what it looks like.”

Kauffman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Anderson referred further inquiries to the city’s attorney, William McCullough.

“The issue is whether or not this was simply clerical errors or actions taken by Ms. Kauffman to defraud the city,” McCullough said.

According to Vaudt’s report, the City Council voted to terminate Kauffman in September 2010 after a city employee discovered she had been recording a negative amount of federal income tax withholding when she calculated her own payroll check. 

“The city stands by its decision to terminate her,” McCullough said. “The city felt at the time and still does that she should not be employed by the city. ... It’s at least a sign of incompetence and non-professional actions on her part.”

McCullough said the city will discuss the report with the Scott County Attorney’s Office. Scott County Attorney Mike Walton said if his office receives the case, he’ll review it.

Copies of the report also were filed with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.


EARLIER STORY

The Associated Press at 1:23 p.m.

BUFFALO, Iowa — More than $9,000 was mishandled by officials in the small eastern Iowa city of Buffalo, according to a new state audit released Wednesday.

State Auditor David Vaudt's report shows officials gave more than $5,000 in improper disbursements between September 2008 and September 2010. That includes payments to the former assistant city clerk and city council members. Additional disbursements and charges were made with the city's credit card.

The report said some of the mishandling stems from the clerk, Kimberly Kauffman, who was paid for vacation days she had not yet earned. She also incorrectly recorded her federal income tax in the city's accounting records. In total, she was improperly paid about $1,800. The errors cost Kauffman her job in September 2010.

Another chunk of improper disbursements came from city council members being paid above a set rate for attending meetings. The city's accounting system included $25 per meeting instead of $15 per meeting. The overpayments totaled more than $1,300. The report said city council members had previously expressed concern about the overpayments.

The report also said some improper charges were incurred on the city's credit card, which employees are allowed to check out. While most vendors listed were normal, it's unclear if some charges were personal or for the city's operations. There was a lack of documentation for more than $4,200 spent.

In all, Vaudt said it was impossible to determine if more money was improperly disbursed or collected because of inadequate records. That includes whether money collected by the city for utility billings was properly recorded and deposited to the city's accounts.

The report has several recommendations for the city, including better procedures for reimbursements and that paychecks are more thoroughly reviewed.

Buffalo is located in Scott County and has a population of about 1,200 people.

(6) comments

RHDame
RHDame

Way before the last two mayors were elected, there were bigger problems than this latest discovery. Over twenty years of total mismanagement and that was the second chapter of it.
I could write a book about the financial dealings and shoddy bookeeping that has gone on and no one cared to do anything about it. Forty years of everyone accepting the say-so of someone else and no one wanting to take the time to check things out! And state officers that evidently allowed it to continue! Lots to blame! Kind of like a two step shuffle.

rchase1973
rchase1973

Did any one of you actually read the audit? Or are you just going off of what is said in this article? Just wondering!!! This is kinda like you only see the crazy things that a famous person does and the reporters only report half truths. How do you know if this isn't a half truth thing? Read the audit if you can understand it and then make your comments. I love how the news reports things. Cause if you look at another news article they are implicating the wrong person. I mean for real people! Sinner down this is def no Rita Cromwell and she certainly wasn't even close to making milions off of anybodys money.

tenious1

What is with these small towns ? Is there truly something in the water? Dont tell me Buffalo doesnt have an inventory list, their volunteer fire chief runs his electrical business through a second checking account unbeknown to the tax payer while another volunteer helps himself to a compressor owned by the tax payer. How many defibs does this little town have? SH*#
really does float down river. Buffalo has its own Riverdale now.......

dendroid
dendroid

Let us hope that Scott County does a better job of investigating and prosecuting this than Muscatine County did with the city of Stockton.....this keeps happening because there is basically nothing done but slaps on the wrists and NO total accounting for sloppy bookkeeping for years and years.

rchase1973
rchase1973

Why don't you call the city hall and see how they handled the overpayment of city council members! Instead of just critisizing call and ask. I did! The ones who got overpaid had to pay the City back. Not only do I see that the council was overpaid but what about the fact that this chic totally flubbed up her check and got caught so it was not like the right thing wasn't done by firing her! The question really is where is the $1800 that she overpaid herself or why did she report negetive taxes on her check? Hmmmmm...........

Sierra 1

Oops? Come on Mayor. Let's see how far this can go.I hope the state looks even deeper. Opps! "Another chunk of improper disbursements came from city council members being paid above a set rate for attending meetings. The city's accounting system included $25 per meeting instead of $15 per meeting. The overpayments totaled more than $1,300. The report said city council members had previously expressed concern about the overpayments "Opps we've been caught. How much concern Mayor and Council Members?. I hope that the State and the County Attorney find the truth.

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